Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a group of pulmonary disease that restricts airflow within the lungs and includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. According to the CDC, approximately 18 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD and millions more suffer with it but have yet to be diagnosed and receive treatment17. People aged 65 and over are more likely to be diagnosed with some form of COPD but it can affect persons of any age.

Nationally, there are 40.4 ER visits per 100 persons and 43.5% of those visits are less than 15 minutes in duration18. According to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2018 Emergency Department Summary Tables, COPD accounted for 8.1 million ER visits in 2018 or 6.2% of all ER visits nationwide18. Carroll County has a very high rate of ER visits as compared with the state which may have multiple causes including the lack of access to preventive and acute medical care.